The Risks of Sexting


Many people do it, but is it safe? Liz Waid and Bruce Gulland look at the popularity and dangers of sexting.

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2  

And I’m Bruce Gulland. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

Maureen was a normal young girl. She wanted to feel good about herself. She wanted a boyfriend. She liked a few boys at her school. There was one boy who had sent her nice messages on her phone. The boy had not talked to her much at school. But he was very nice in his text messages. He told her how good she looked. This made her feel good. She was starting to like him. But then he asked her to send a picture of herself in just her underwear. She was not sure it was a good idea. But he promised that he would not show it to anyone else. So, Maureen took the picture. Then she sent it. The next day she knew she had made a big mistake.

Voice 2  

Today’s Spotlight is on sexting. Sexting is sending, receiving, or forwarding sexual messages or pictures, usually through mobile telephones. Sexting is very common. But it creates problems. And these problems do not always have easy solutions.

Voice 1  

Sexting is full of risks. In 2015 a Japanese reporter was fired from his job for sharing a picture of his penis. He was trying to share it with one person. Instead, he shared it with 150 people he worked with.

Voice 2  

A similar thing happened in 2011 to a politician from the United States. And over the past few years, private photos of many famous actors have been stolen and shared on the Internet. No one in the photos had planned to share them with the world.

Voice 1  

But sexting is not just for famous people. The American Psychological Association has studied sexting. In a 2015 online survey, 82% of people said they had sexted in the year before. Seventy-five percent of these people sent these messages within a committed relationship. That is, the people in the relationship were loyal to each other.

Voice 2  

This research shows that many people are sexting. But is sexting a good thing or a bad thing? Emily Stasko presented this research to the APA. She said:

Voice 3  

“Sexting does require more study. But this research shows a strong relationship between sexting and being happy with a sexual relationship.”

Voice 1  

Stasko says that sexting can be a part of many healthy relationships. But remember Maureen from the beginning of this program? She was not in a relationship. She was only 13 years old. Sexting is very common with young people. Jessica Contrera reported Maureen’s story for the Washington Post Newspaper. She wrote,

Voice 4  

“Sexting is part of every school. It does not matter if it is rich or poor, in a city or a smaller town, or if it is big or small. As younger and younger kids get phones, the issue becomes more complex.”

Voice 2  

After Maureen sent the picture to the boy, he told her he had shown the picture to a few other people. But this was not true. He had shown it to many people. Soon most of her school had seen the picture. Maureen's teacher even called her parents.

Voice 1  

Other students began to post unkind things to Maureen’s social media accounts. They called her terrible names and told her to kill herself. Maureen stopped going to school. Her parents took away her phone. She even tried to kill herself during this time. Her parents took her to a professional counselor to talk about the situation. This helped. And after several weeks she was able to go back to school.

Voice 2  

Maureen knew the risks in sending the picture. So why would someone like Maureen share pictures like this? Maybe she did it because it is so common. A girl from Maureen's school told Jessica Contrera,

Voice 5  

“In sixth or seventh grade people started sexting. The popular girls would send sexts to the popular boys. I would find out about it and say, ‘You know that’s wrong, right?’ I did not think it was a good idea. But everyone was doing it, so I just felt like I had to.”

Voice 1  

When adults sext, bad things can happen with the pictures. They may lose their job. Or they may feel ashamed. But when children sext, very bad things can happen. Without meaning to, they are creating child pornography, or porn. In many countries child pornography is illegal.

Voice 2  

In the United States and the United Kingdom there are very strong laws about creating or owning pictures of children under 18 who do not have clothes on. But the laws were not made for situations where young people take and send the pictures themselves. Some countries have tried to solve these problems by banning all sexting. They may lock your phone if you sext someone. Other countries have different laws. But no country celebrates child pornography. Many countries have not yet discovered how to solve this difficult problem.

Voice 1  

Sexting can be risky for every person. When you share a picture it does not go away. If it is on the Internet, it can go anywhere. And anyone can see it. Many people choose to sext even when they know the risks. So, if you are going to sext, there are some ways to protect yourself.

Voice 2  

Do not include pictures of your face. This will make it more difficult to identify you.

Voice 1  

Use an app like Snapchat. These kinds of apps delete the picture a few seconds after a person sees it.

Voice 2  

Do not feel pressure from someone else to send a picture. If you do not want to send someone a picture, you do not have to. It does not matter how many times they ask.

Voice 1  

Never send a picture to someone you do not know. It will not make them like you.

Voice 2  

Never send a picture to someone you do not trust.

Voice 1  

Do not drink alcohol and sext.

Voice 2  

Do not keep photos on your phone for a long time. Delete all sexting pictures. You never know what someone will do if they borrow your phone.

Voice 1  

And remember that even when you follow this advice you can still get hurt.

Voice 2

 What do you think about sexting? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Has anything bad happened to you because of sexting? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 1  

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Bruce Gulland. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘The Risks of Sexting’.

Voice 2  

Look for our listening app in the Google Play Store and in iTunes. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Is there any kind of message you would never send over your mobile phone?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Alan2017
said on May 02, 2017

Greetings. Definetly in any circunstance there is no reason to show our personal photos, even if we are wearing cloths, if those photos are going to be sent to someone we don’t know. And if we know the receiver, and not wearing clothes, it’s a very bad thing. For me, it’s almost like prostitution. There’s no other name for this. Because that’s the definition of prostitution. I think: to get oportunities with someone through selling out bodies. And someone who thinks different, maybe when having daughter will feel this reason.

Avatar Spotlight
Alan2017
said on May 02, 2017

Well, prostitution of men or women. “to get oportunities with someone through selling “our” bodies. I do not discuss that for people that looks for honest job, like modeling. But, what can children know about that?

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kenhieuloilam
said on May 04, 2017

We were born and we grow. We are cared for, taught and educated to become good persons of family and community. We mature and age. We do beautiful good things and keep away from not good things. If we get married we will have children. If we do not get married we will not have any children. A healthy way of living is helpful and we can do beautiful good things. An unhealthy way of living is harmful and we cannot do beautiful good things. We have joy when we do beautiful good things. We have peace when we live a beautiful good life. Not good things make us not be able to do beautiful good things. Not good things destroy our lives.

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regis_f
said on May 09, 2018

Sexting is like many other problems that we have in our modern world, like bullying, drugs, and alcohol. In all cases, the best way to avoid problems with any of them is to talk with our children. Explain the danger and consequences related to them. Make clear that there are persons who make wrong things, and they, children, don’t have to follow what all other people do. But on sexting, I see another big issue, especially in my country. Many parents don’t know how sexting work. They don’t know how Instagram, Snapchat, and other technologies work. In many cases, they never have used a computer or the internet.

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Honneur
said on May 09, 2018

First I want to thank Spotlight for more interesting and motivating text. I have never sent this kind of photos and I think that whoever does it is exhibitionist (Freud explains) and naive, because it exposes their intimacy to a medium of communication that does not deserve total confidence. If I want to show my body to someone, it’s better to do it personally and reciprocally ...